Elms College students have the option of starting their semester early with a week of community service activities as part of the Dorothy Day program. Now in its eighth year, the program welcomed members of the class of 2017.

Dorothy Day students

A group of Dorothy Day students tend to the landscaping at Mont Marie, residence to many retired Sisters of St. Joseph.

Dorothy Day Students Show their Colors

Tue Sep 3, 2013

Where there are purple t-shirts, there are students helping make a difference. Last week, the Elms College community welcomed some of the members of Elms College’s Class of 2017 to participate in the eighth annual Dorothy Day program. Since 2006, this week-long program of intensive community service and reflection has brought the best and brightest out into the community to serve the needs of the less fortunate. “Dorothy Day is a great way to start off!” said psychology major Katherine Rice ’15. “I just love doing community service…accomplishing something that will help someone.”

Named after Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic whose mission was to serve the poor, the program furthers the charitable mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph to unite “neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God without distinction.”

“This program provides an in-depth experience for incoming first-year students,” remarked Carol Allan, SSJ, M.A.T., director of campus ministry. “From the works they perform and the sharing of their hearts to the evening activities, the Dorothy Day experience gives students a chance to know God, know each other, and know themselves. They are amazing students, doing amazing work.”

Arriving a week before the rest of the Elms College student body, program participants were assigned to one of five sites for a week of community service. The five sites include the SEED Program at Mount Marie; The Homework House located in Holyoke; and the Gray House, Open Pantry Emergency Food Pantry, and Teen Living Programs located in Springfield.

At these locations, students have worked hard to tidy up the landscape for the Sisters of St. Joseph at Mont Marie, feed and care for children, clean and paint classrooms, assemble bookcases, organize toys and school supplies, alongside gathering and organizing food and wares for the less fortunate. After a long day of service, the students have a time of reflection to discuss their day, their work, and their personal experiences, carrying on the legacy of service that Elms College has become known for in the greater community.

As computer information technology major Kelly Bernier summed it up: “It makes you realize the little things that count. It’s something you want to do every day of your life.”

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